Tough Darts Saturday: Photos From Our Ducky Walk That Wasn’t

Have your read the interview with Rita Moreno in which she says “tough darts” in response to a question about how intimidating her presence might be at a rehearsal of West Side Story?  [Read here.]

I like this woman and immediately adopted TOUGH DARTS as my newest favorite way of saying: oh well, get over yourself, whatever.  It’s an old-fashioned version of “too bad, so sad” which is another one of my favorite sayings.

Anyhow, here’s the story.

On Saturday the sky was gloriously clear and I decided that we needed to go to a popular county park on the other side of nowhere from us.  We hadn’t been there in years and I remembered it as being a lovely tranquil place to walk while enjoying ducks on the lake.

And who doesn’t like watching some ducks do ducky things while you’re outside for a healthful walk?

Well, we found the park, but as we drove into the parking lot we were surprised by how few cars were around.  Beautiful day… warmer temps… Saturday afternoon… THIS DIDN’T MAKE SENSE.  Where were the people?

Come to find out after our Polar Vortex week the temperatures had gotten warm enough to create flash flooding that had left much of this park submerged under water.  When we set out on this adventure I didn’t know that, however once we got to the park we could see that the paths had debris on them or were muddy as heck or were still under water.

Thus our walk could not be.

But I had my camera with us so I took a bunch of random photographs of what I saw around me.  The following seven photos show you, my gentle readers, the ducky walk that wasn’t. 🤨

~ ~ • ~ ~

Gorgeous blue winter sky behind sign indicating play area.

~ • ~

An ark a la Noah, now muddy thanks to flash flooding in the play area. Oh the irony!

~ • ~

Debris on this walking path for as far as the eye could see.

~ • ~

Park bench, still muddy, having been submerged under flash flood water.

~ • ~

Canoe & kayak launching area still under water. Green square is top of a trash can.

~ • ~

Beginning of muddy path not taken, much muddier up around the curve.

~ • ~

Two ducks that initially appeared to be in the middle of the lake who were sitting on top of the back of a park bench, normally by the side of the lake, now submerged under water because of flash flooding.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Blogger’s Block: Muse Is Missing And I Am Without Flapdoodle & Twaddle

Two Adirondack chairs in the park, a perfect resting spot for anyone who needs to take a short breather while looking for Muse.

Where is my Muse?

I’m ashamed to say that I am without a story to share here today.

Nor do I have any research projects in process so I don’t have any little tidbits of information to toss into the blog.

I’m not feeling sad or snarky or silly, so there’s no blog post to be plumbed from those emotions.

Instead, I have blogger’s block, a specific kind of writer’s block wherein a personal blogger, such a meself, has the photo and the time to write about it, but can’t find the inspiration, the catalyst, the spark one needs to create the blog post.

There is no flapdoodle. There is no twaddle.

And I am bereft.

I place the blame for this unusual blogging situation squarely on the shoulders of Muse who has scampered off, probably to play on the swings in the park.

I’m sure you, my gentle readers, understand this situation.  Muse is, after all, a flighty thing. 😉

If A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In August, Do We Get A Polar Vortex In January?

Look closely.  The above is a photo of a butterfly landing on salvia.  I took it, while standing on our stone path by the side of the house, last August.

Seeing the butterfly then made me happy because I’m working on turning one quadrant of our garden, by the stone path, into a butterfly habitat.  So far, this is a project in its infancy having attracted only a few butterflies.

But I have dreams. Big Butterfly Habitat Dreams.

And now, not to put too fine a point on it, I have a cheerful photo, perfect for sharing here today, whilst we’re in the midst of the Polar Vortex.

People, it is cold outside.

Yesterday it was 7ºF in the early morning and I thought that was cold.  I had to go to the doc’s office for routine blood work so I bundled up and navigated the plowed, but still slippery, streets to get there.

It was an interesting drive.

Today, at the same time in the morning, it’s -3ºF outside and I’m going nowhere.  Nowhere I say.  Yep, I’m staying at home inside, being the reasonably prudent slacker that I am at heart.

Why?  Because I can [the obvious flippant answer that we all know and love].

And because you, my gentle readers, are out there in the world wide web, waiting, I hope, to comment on this post so that I have something meaningful to do with my time today.

What up, kids? Life treating you well?

The One About Unexpectedly Making A Noteworthy Mess In The Kitchen

Don’t do this.

I can’t say for certain that I created my worst kitchen mess ever, but I can say that what I did was so far beyond my usual kitchen messes that it is worthy of note.

And belongs on my Top Five Biggest Kitchen Messes Ever List.

If I had such a list.  But I don’t.

Here’s what I did. 

I got the wok out and put it on the cooktop because I was getting ready to stir-fry some vegetables for dinner. 

Then I grabbed the canola oil from the shelf and opened a new 32 fl.oz. bottle.  

Made of flimsy plastic.

I went to pour some oil into the wok but I lost control of the lightweight, squishy, poorly designed, this-is-really-not-my-fault bottle.  Thus I ended up pouring canola oil:

  • into the wok; 
  • onto the cooktop; 
  • onto the granite counter beside the cooktop; 
  • into the utensil crock filled with spoons and spatulas sitting on the granite counter; and last but not least 
  • onto and into the wooden knife holder, filled with knives, sitting beside the utensil crock filled with spoons and spatulas sitting on the granite counter beside the cooktop.

Say good-bye to half a bottle of oil.

As you can imagine the spilled 16 fl. oz. of oil immediately began to spread across the cooktop and the granite counter, dribbling down the front of the cabinets, leaving puddles of oil on the floor.  

This, you expect.

And, of course, the oil got inside the utensil crock, pooling in the bottom, where it stayed until I washed the crock and everything in it.  

Again, this is what you expect. 

But the big surprise is that once the oil covered the outside of wooden knife holder, it quickly oozed into the knife slots.  There, in an instant, the oil was absorbed into those slots in such a way as to make the wooden knife holder, that suddenly had begun to smell like mold, about as un-washable and un-usable as anything I’ve ever seen destroyed in a kitchen.

This sort of mess I did not expect.

So there you have it, another story in which my life is not as idyllic as one might hope.  A story, in fact, that lends itself to me asking you a question, my gentle readers:

What’s the biggest cooking &/or baking mess you’ve made in the kitchen?

It Was A Jammies Day, Meant For Bookworms

Dear Diary,

We never got the predicted deep snow, but we did get the frigid temps.  And because we could, Zen-Den and I spent Sunday at home going nowhere.

He watched football on TV.

I read.

In fact, I finished one novel, The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn.

[I don’t do book reviews on this blog.  Instead I’ll tell you that I enjoyed this historical fiction novel because it had unique characters, a predictable but interesting plot, and explained the history of women spies during WWI, something I knew nothing about.]

Then I pulled out an Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton because I wanted a lightweight British cozy mystery to while away the rest of the day.

As one does when one is me.

I admit I looked outside and contemplated walking into the screened-in porch to brush off the snow from the winter furniture, but that seemed like too. much. effort. for a woman in her jammies all day.

[Plus, that furniture is teak which is supposed to weather the elements so that it can develop a rich gray patina and show a little character.]  

And that, Dear Diary, is about all there is to say about Sunday instant.

I’m hoping that the temps will get up into the 20s today so I can comfortably go for a walk outside, but if not I’ll keep reading.

Up next in my TBR stack is Beartown by Fredrik Backman, so you know I’ll be enjoying the book in front of me.  Thus I say fear not, for I shall keep myself entertained while avoiding inclement weather.

Yours truly,

Ally Bean

A Cautionary Tale About Socks: One Woman’s Experience With KonMari

YOU MAY REMEMBER last fall I organized my section of our walk-in closet [discussed here].  What I didn’t tell you, my gentle readers, is that when I did that organization I adopted, sort of, the KonMari approach to tidying up said closet space.

Oh yes I did.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been 100% convinced her approach to organizing stuff is for me, but I’m open-minded so I gave it a go in our closet wherein I have a chest of drawers + a rod for hanging clothes + some shelves on which to put things.

Please note that in keeping with my experimental mindset I went full-out joy-sparking in that closet.

Uh huh.

SO LAST WEEKEND Zen-Den and I were going to dinner with friends at a nice restaurant in a swanky part of town.  I was wearing black pants, intending to wear a new pair of black leather + leopard print loafers with socks.

Black socks, obviously. Because winter is finally here and for the first time since last winter I needed to wear dark socks.

All was good in my uber-organized sock drawer, or so I thought, until I realized that during my Marie Kondo organizational purge last fall I’d saved 5 dark socks.

Five. Individual. Socks.

They are: 2 textured brown socks, 1 plain navy blue sock, 1 plain black sock, and 1 tone-on-tone patterned black sock.

APPARENTLY I GOT a little too joyful, and a trifle distracted, when I sorted through my dark socks last fall, giving the ones I didn’t want to the Salvation Army.

I think we can agree on that.

But be that as it may this situation created an interesting problem in the moment for which I had no immediate logical solution.  Thus I’ll share with you what turned out to be my four choices– and ask you to contemplate what you’d do in this situation.

My solution is in the comments below.

• • •

HERE IS THE SOCK CONUNDRUM I FACED

1) I could wear the matching brown socks that didn’t go with the black pants and cute black leather + leopard print loafers;  or

2) I could be an outlaw a la Agnes and wear many possible mismatched sock combinations;  or

3) I could go sockless on a cold winter’s night;  or

4) I could give up wearing my cute loafers and wear black boots instead, knowing no one would see my socks that way.

WHAT DO YOU THINK I DID? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

• • •

A Life Lesson: How To Look Scruffy In Three Simple Steps Then Get Over Your Sad Self

How ‘ya doing scruffy face?

Zen-Den said this to me as he was walking into the kitchen from the garage after getting home from work.  Because I had my back to him while standing at the stove cooking ye olde supper, he couldn’t see my face.

Domesticity, we got it.

Anyhoo, while you might think this is going to be a tale about another gushy nickname, he was being literal.  There was no Chickiedoodle cuteness involved in this salutation.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

You see, somehow, probably while out in the forest primeval behind the house doing the fall clean-up, I got a rash on my face.

And somehow, probably by using one of the aesthetician-approved fancy Vitamin C serums that are all the rage, I exacerbated the rash.

And somehow, probably by not backing down on my doctor-prescribed retinoid, I managed to destroy my face.  Well, not literally, but my face got all red and flaky and itchy and beyond not good– straight to ugly.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

So there I was cooking, not looking my best nor happy about it, still feeling a twinge of self-pity, when Mr. Hilaremoose wanders into the house.  And you know what?

His ridiculous way of saying “hello” to me, even before he saw my ratty face, cheered me up instantly.

Didn’t do a thing to reduce the inflammation, but made me realize how inconsequential it is to worry about that. which. just. happens.

Laugh it off, move along.

Make dinner.

My life.